Nearly a year after the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) issued a notification inviting applications for the post of a new director, the north India’s premier medical hub continues to remain without a regular director. The selection process this time is mired in controversy and several questions have been raised over the manner in which the shortlisting was conducted by the union health ministry. The PGI’s faculty association, meanwhile, on Saturday said that they have decided to take up the delay in the appointment with the union health ministry.
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The Institute is currently headed by Dean of the Institute, Dr Subhash Verma, who was made the officiating director for the six months by the health ministry. The six-month tenure of Verma would end on April 6.
In March last year, the PGIMER authority had issued a circular seeking applications for the top post. Subsequently, a search and selection committee headed by Union Health Secretary CK Mishra, formed by the Union Health Minister JP Nadda recommended a panel of three PGI doctors comprising Dr Anil Bhansali, head of Department of Endocrinology,Dr Meenu Singh, who is from the Department of Pediatrics and Dr Jagat Ram, head, Advance Eye Centre. The shortlisted panel, however, triggered resentment among the PGI faculty which termed the selection “unfair”. The final call about the selection process has to be done by the Cabinet’s Appointments Committee.
National Commission of SC and ST also recommended to health ministry that a panel of doctors shortlisted by a search committee “may be reviewed”.The SC/ST body of PGI went to the SC Commission alleging discrimination in the selection process.
The delay in the selection process is now being questioned by senior PGI professors, who say the prolonged delay would affect the proper functioning of the Institute.
“The new director should have been announced much before the tenure of the previous director ends. The health ministry’s approach towards this prestigious Institute is very shocking,” said a senior PGI professor. “The officiating director would not try to take any policy decision, as he knows that he is there for a temporary period.”
Another PGI faculty member who was in the race for director’s post told Chandigarh Newsline, “After so much of criticism, the government should take a decision quickly about the selection.”
PGI faculty association head Dr TD Yadav told Chandigarh Newsline that the association would soon take up the issue with the health ministry. “We will soon write a letter to the health ministry that regular director should be appointed soon for the smooth functioning of the PGI,” he said.
While the Union Health Secretary CK Mishra was unavailable for comments, health ministry sources said that “they are expecting some development about the issue very soon.”
Asked the reason about the delay, a health ministry official said, “The delay in the selection happened because the case reached the SC and ST Commission which also added to the delay.”
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